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Taxi associations in South Africa feel government’s wrath

The Gauteng MEC for Transport and Logistics, Kedibone Diale-Tlabela, is in the process of closing the taxi ranks and routes of the Nancefield-Dube West Taxi Association (Nanduwe) and Witwatersrand Taxi Association (Wata) in Soweto following a resurgence in violence between the two entities that threatened the safety of passengers, residents, and the general public.

In terms of Section 91 of the National Land Transport Act, the MEC will soon publish a notice in the provincial gazette outlining her intention to close the affected Nanduwe/Wata routes and taxi ranks.

In 2020, the North Gauteng High Court ratified an agreement between Gauteng’s major taxi structures, the Gauteng National Taxi Alliance (GNTA), and the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco-Gauteng), giving the MEC powers to dissolve taxi associations involved in acts of violence.

“I am duty bound to ensure that public transport is safe and that the community is not forced to live under a stranglehold of violence,” said MEC Diale-Tlabela.

“Public transport is there to make it easy for the commuting public to travel from home to work and back safely.”

The MEC additionally deployed a joint operation between the Gauteng Department of Community Safety and Road Traffic Management Corporation in the region in an effort to curb more conflict.

The teams have been on the ground since Friday, 5 April, and have impounded 47 vehicles over the period. Of these, 26 belonged to Wata and 21 to Nanduwe.

Gauteng MEC on a hot streak

The suspension of Nanduwe and Wata’s Soweto operations follows an intervention of a similar kind carried out by MEC Diale-Tlabela in March.

On Wednesday, 13 March, several taxi operators in the City of Ekurhuleni were alleged to have intimidated and assaulted commuters.

Subsequently, the MEC swiftly met with the Gauteng Taxi Industry to resolve the impasse, leading to the arrest of four taxi association members who were charged with assault and damage to property, as well as the impoundment of 10 vehicles belonging to these individuals.

“The arrest and impoundment of the perpetrators should send a clear message to those who think they can do as they please in our province,” said MEC Diale-Tlabela at the time.

“I condemn in the strongest possible terms the continuous killings associated with the taxi industry.”

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